Note: This is important because the alleged credentials of Denis Waitley have been included in Usana’s SEC filings.
SAN DIEGO, March 28, 2007 — An independent inquiry ordered by the Fraud Discovery Institute, Inc. (FDI) to look into the background of Denis E. Waitley, longtime director and spokesman of Usana Health Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: USNA – News), could not confirm statements made on multiple, official S.E.C. filings about Mr. Waitley’s educational credentials, it was announced by Barry Minkow and FDI today. Usana has made headlines in the last two weeks after coming under S.E.C. scrutiny following a 500-page report from FDI that was made public and a subsequent investigative cover story in the Money & Investing section of the Wall Street Journal (March 15).According to Barry Minkow, independent licensed private investigators who specialize in examining resumes could not confirm that Mr. Waitley had earned a M.A. degree from the Naval Post Graduate School, in Monterey, California. Moreover, the Doctorate, or a Ph.D. in Human Behavior from La Jolla University listed in Mr. Waitley’s resume, appears to have come from a now defunct and never-accredited “diploma mill,” according to Minkow. Both alleged degrees are listed on official S.E.C. filings.
Mr. Waitley, a well-known motivational speaker who also appears in the hit movie, The Secret, is listed on Usana’s Schedule 14A Proxy Statement, filed on March 13, 2007, as having “served as a director of USANA since May 2000. Dr. Waitley has also served as a consultant to and a spokesperson for USANA since September 1996.” The Proxy also states, “Dr. Waitley received a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, an M.A. in Organizational Development from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterrey, California, and a Ph.D. in Human Behavior from La Jolla University.”
The Fraud Discovery Institute, under the direction of Barry Minkow, contracted a licensed private investigator to assist in FDI’s inquiry into this apparent resume inconsistency. After contacting the Naval Post Graduate School, he writes: “When contacted by our investigators, a representative of the school was unable to locate any record that the search subject graduated with the stated degree, and as such, it would appear that this assertion is untrue,” the report says.
Regarding the Ph.D. from La Jolla University, the report also stated, “Finally, the subject is listed in the same government filings as having graduated with a Ph.D. from La Jolla University. No record of this school was found in our databases of current accredited institutions of higher-learning, and the school does not appear in the databases of the State of California Bureau for Private Post-Secondary & Vocational Education. Despite extensive database searches, no working telephone number was found for this school. Accordingly, it was not possible to verify that the search subject graduated with the stated degree from this institution.”
“The significance of these findings are particularly relevant because of Mr. Waitley’s apparent role as the Usana official spokesman and independent director,” said Barry Minkow. “Moreover, according to public documents, Mr. Waitley has cashed out over $2,350,000 in exercised stock options in 2006 alone,” Minkow added.
In other developments, the second segment of the FDI response to Usana has been posted on YouTube.com. In this segment, Barry Minkow brings a film crew to four vitamin stores and purchases numerous vitamin products to compare prices with Usana’s top selling, Usana Health Pak 100(TM), which wholesales for $118.00 for a one-month supply. “There is no objective, rational person who can watch this segment and conclude that, compared to comparable vitamin packs sold in retail stores, that the Usana product offers the consumer with any savings whatsoever – but is actually hopelessly overpriced when compared with multiple products from different companies.”